Operation Mekong (2016)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2018-04-25
Summary: Lots of boom boom
“Operation Mekong” has a lot of explosions, plenty of gun fights, a really loud score, cardboard characters (all the better to blow them away) and a plot that, while based on actual events, doesn’t really hold together. It is the story of noble Chinese anti-drug paramilitary forces leading a four nation joint task force to crack down on drug smuggling in the Golden Triangle. The other nations are Myanmar, Laos and Thailand but their armed police and intelligence officers are mainly around to look astonished at the organization, dedication and deadliness of the Chinese killer elite who do most of the shooting but little of the dying. Explosions come from RPGs, TOW missiles and bazooka rockets, including a couple that are followed into and out of the barrel of the weapon that launches them. There is a satchel charge somehow carried by a child who probably weighs less than the bomb that pancakes a substantial building and destroys all the cars parked within a couple of hundred feet of it.

There is a shootout in a train station, an underground drug factory and a multi-story shopping mall that seems to be made mainly of glass. Drug runners can't just be bad because they run drugs. They are made extra bad by almost casually importing some of the worst excesses of African warlords from the past two decades including widespread use of child soldiers and hacking off the limbs of peasants who don’t help them grow and process the raw materials for drug shipments.

So there is a lot of slam-bang action. Occasionally it is interrupted by cliched cop/buddy movie scenes with labored dialog between Eddie Peng, playing the undercover intelligence officer, complete with several disguises accomplished by simply changing face facial hair and Zhang Han-Yu, the head of the task force who is, as is always the case with such paragons, loved by his loyal subordinates but not completely trusted by his superiors although since this movie was produced under the auspices of the PRC the higher-ups are themselves perfect examples of ministerial level commanders. Exposition is jaw-droppingly inept. There are at least three instances when things jolt to a stop while someone explains to the others just what the Golden Triangle is and why it is a lawless wilderness that only the disciplined forces of the PRC can bring to account.

An OK movie as long as things are blowing up, guns are shooting or spies are spying, which is most of the time
Reviewer Score: 6